Video game developer Lionhead has voiced its opinion that the existence of a secondary market for used games for the Xbox 360 from Microsoft (and presumably for the PlayStation 3 from Sony) is far more of a threat to video gaming than the piracy that assaults the PC market.
Matt West, who is a combat designer working on the Fable III, which has recently received a launch on the PC, has talked to Eurogamer and said, “I’ve been working on PC games for many years and piracy is always a problem. There are a lot of honest people out there as well, and if they like your game they’ll buy it. The pirates, whatever you do on whatever system, they will crack it.”
He went on to point out that the pirates are harming the PC market because they are making sure that more developers are moving to only launch their titles on home consoles.
He says that the PC launch of Fable III is possible because the developer Lionhead and the publisher Microsoft have already managed to recuperate the costs associated with the game with sales on the Xbox 360.
West then added, “For us it’s probably a no-lose even with piracy as it is. But, as I say, second-hand sales cost us more in the long-run than piracy these days.”
Recently, a number of publishers have launched initiatives aimed at making new copies of their video games more attractive than used ones to the average gamer.
The first large scale move came from Electronic Arts, via its Project 10 Dollars, which offers new buyers for free content that would otherwise cost money, sometimes oriented towards the multiplayer side.
EA has said that the initiative has been successful, but the publisher has not delivered actual data showing how the balance between new copies and used ones shifted.